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Biological Sciences (Genetics and Genomics)

BSc (Hons)

UCAS code: C400

Start dates: September 2023 / September 2024

Full time: 3 years, 4 years sandwich

Part time: part-time study is possible

Location: Abingdon & Witney College, Headington

Department(s): Department of Biological and Medical Sciences


Do you want to help stop diseases before they show up? Do you want to be at the cutting-edge of genetics and genomics research? On our BSc Biological Sciences (Genetics and Genomics) degree, you’ll get to experience how genomics impacts all areas of bioscience. Whether it’s healthcare, endangered species, or cancer research, we’ll help enhance your understanding and analytical skills.

Developments in big data are ushering in rapid advances in DNA sequencing. Our labs are equipped with modern equipment where you’ll sharpen your computational analysis and molecular and cell biology laboratory skills. Our staff are active in research, so you’ll stay up to date with the latest developments in the field.

Our teaching staff are committed to your success and want you to thrive. We’ve created a nurturing environment and our small group sizes are core to this. 

As a graduate, your skills and experience will mean you can make a lasting impact on the health of society. 

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Flexible options

    Tailor the course to suit your interests. You can choose from a broad range of modules, starting with a foundation year if you need it, or taking a year in industry.

  • Student support

    We pride ourselves on the connection our staff have with our students. This will support your academic and personal development.

  • Employment success

    We offer modules to help you identify interesting career paths and to develop your professional skills. These are supported with the opportunity to gain work experience through a placement year, a work experience module and your research project.

  • Strong industry links

    We enjoy strong links with organisations like biotech companies and research centres. We’re regularly updated on important industry developments.

  • International exchanges

    Are you ready to expand your horizons? Do you want to explore a different culture? You may be able to spend a year studying and living in a different country.

  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

  • Study abroad

    You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

Course details

Course structure

Your first year will ground you in important aspects of the biosciences. You’ll focus on applying fundamental biology to real life issues. You’ll explore the classification of the living world, evolution, cell function, chemical principles. Key themes include cellular organelles and their functions, and chemical bonds and structures. You’ll be at the cutting-edge of innovative thinking.

You’ll learn how to analyse genomes and extract DNA in your second year. You’ll examine genetics and data carpentry. Optional modules include microbiology and animal development.

The optional industrial placement can help you gain first-hand experience within a professional environment. Alternatively, you can gain work experience as part of a final year module without the need to extend your degree.

In your final year, you’ll be able to specialise in your areas of interest. Your research project will help you stand out when applying for jobs. This can be done in conjunction with companies from our Bioinnovation hub or within our Bioimaging or Functional Genetic and Genomic Centres.

Students sitting around a table in the John Henry Brookes Building

Learning and teaching

Throughout the course we focus on applying fundamental biology to real life issues. You will apply your knowledge in practical settings, either in the lab or out in the field. 

You have the opportunity to gain a wide range of skills, including:

  • molecular techniques (for example, for the study of DNA, RNA and proteins)
  • bioinformatics
  • advanced light and electron microscopy
  • field-based methods for species and landscape assessment
  • cutting edge methodologies for the study of evolution and developmental biology

Our teaching methods include: 

  • lectures
  • practicals
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • surgeries


Our assessment methods include:

  • essays
  • reviews
  • examinations
  • laboratory or field notebooks
  • scientific reports
  • posters
  • oral presentations

You’ll reflect on your progress with assignment feedback together with your diaries. 

Assessment is designed to shape and develop learning, not simply measure it. 

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Biodiversity - (double credit module)

This module takes an integrated approach to the diversity of life. It looks at the classification of the living world, the theory of evolution that links all biology and interactions between organisms and their environment. The module concentrates on major structures and patterns in plants, animals and fungi, how they vary within each kingdom and the interrelationships of some of the phyla.

Cell Biology & Genetics - (double credit module)

An introduction to cell function. Students will study the different types of molecules within cells and learn about cellular organelles and their functions.

Intro to Biochemistry A

The module provides a general introduction to the chemical principles that underpin a contemporary understanding of cell function at the molecular level. An overview of stoichiometry and reactions, chemical bonds and structures, and chemical equilibrium underpins content exploring the chemistry of familiar cellular macromolecules (DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, fats).

Intro to Biochemistry B

Cellular pathways for synthesis of these macromolecules will be outlined, and a study of protein structure will be linked with enzyme function and the chemical changes occurring within cells (kinetics and mechanisms). Catabolic pathways will be studied along with cellular energy metabolism.

The Practicing Scientist - (double credit module)

A module designed to introduce, extend and apply the fundamental skills that underpin the practice of science. Key themes include hypothesis testing and the design of scientific investigations, mathematical topics and their application, the principles and application of statistical methods, and the recording, reporting and presentation of science.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Career Development

The module aims to provide essential training in professional career management skills designed to assist you in actively planning and preparing for your future career. It will take you through a career development cycle starting with discovering your potential, exploring opportunities (jobs, post graduate study or training), plotting a way forward and making it happen.

Data Carpentry

This module introduces students on how to get biologically meaningful answers from data while providing a generic introduction to concepts of ‘big data’ and machine learning. This conceptual framework is delivered via a more practical approach where students learn how to program, analyse, manage and communicate data from diverse biological disciplines using the R language for statistical computing.


This module focuses on patterns of genetic inheritance at different scales from individuals to populations to evolutionary lineages. It will develop an understanding of Mendelian/transmission, quantitative, population, ecological and evolutionary genetics and an ability to analyse and interpret genetic data.

Interrogating Genomes

This module provides an introduction to computational thinking in the biological sciences. This involves learning programming to tailor bespoke solutions to biological problems and developing a capacity to approach biological problems from a computational perspective (computational thinking). Additionally students are introduced to a variety of – omic data types (RNA, DNA, Protein-level), public databases and publicly available software for bioinformatics applications.

Molecular Biology

A study of structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes at the molecular level with an overview on the experimental evidence that has contributed to current concepts, models and paradigms and practical experience of key molecular biology laboratory techniques. The module focuses on aspects of genetic engineering and environmental applications of modern molecular tools, with emphasis on phylogeny, ecology and evolution.

Optional modules

Animal Behaviour

An advanced study of the physiological, morphological and evolutionary mechanisms underlying behavioural traits and their variation in animals. Within this module, consideration is given to the influences of resource type and quality on animal behaviour, the evolutionary development of behavioural traits and the acquisition of new behaviours.

Animal Developmental Biology

This module will present students with an in-depth introduction to the principles of developmental biology, and provide a broad overview of development processes and their regulation in animals.

Biochemistry of Cell Function - (double credit module)

The module considers the biochemistry of eukaryotic cells with an emphasis on mammalian tissues. Using several approaches, we will explore the biochemistry of eukaryotic cells, including the chemical nature of the compounds that are involved in cellular processes. Examples of diseases caused by failures in these processes reinforce understanding and provide relevance and application.

Cell Biology

This module focuses on eukaryotic cell structures and functions and highlights examples from animals, plants and fungi. The composition and functions of the cytoskeleton, cell membranes and cell components including chloroplasts, mitochondria and the nucleus will be discussed. In addition, cellular processes such as cell division and cell death will also be examined. Students will use well established methods such as fluorescent microscopy of living cells to experimentally investigate topics from lectures in lab classes.


An introduction to microbiology considering the structures, metabolism, regulatory signals, replication and growth exhibited by microorganisms. You will learn how to work in a Category 2 microbiology laboratory and have the opportunity to plan and execute simple experimental procedures that are important to work with bacteria and viruses. You will practise aseptic techniques, and several procedures used in diagnostic labs for bacterial identification.

Work Experience

The ‘Work Experience’ module is a supervised work-based learning experience. You will spend a minimum of 60 hours in a working environment that is relevant to your future career path. By learning how to reflect on your learning and professional development, and how to present your insights in a written essay and in a video, you will develop useful skills for your future job applications.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Project - (double credit module)

An individual project related to some aspect of the student's degree subject. The associated practical work may be conducted in a research or industrial laboratory or in the field, depending on the nature of the project.

Professional Skills and Techniques

This module focuses on the development of the professional skills, personalised to your career ambitions. You will select three ‘podules’ from a selection of podules, which draw upon our research expertise and links with external partners. Podules will cover a wide range topics relevant to your degree, such as advanced microscopy, protein biochemistry, species identification, geographic information systems, entrepreneurship or science communication. Each podule consists of an introductory lecture, plenty of hands-on experience, and a seminar in which you will learn more about the application of ‘your’ skill in different contexts.

Advanced Genetics and Genomics

The emphasis in this module is on the major theoretical and technological advances in Genetics and Genomics, and their significance in addressing the current challenges in biological and medical research. The module will specifically focus on the use of natural variation for the study of population history, selection inference, and analysing variation in complex traits; the use of comparative genomics and phylogenetics to understand evolutionary relationships and investigate gene and genome evolution; the role of microbiomes in human health and ecosystems and the study of gene function.

Optional modules

Molecular Biology of Cancer

An exploration of the nature and causes of cancer with particular emphasis on the molecular biology of underlying mechanisms. The module is framed around the concepts of the ‘hallmarks of cancer’ and will also explore the emerging field of cancer genomics as well as cover the therapeutic options for tumour patients.

Advanced Topics in Wildlife Conservation

The module will identify and deliver the concepts and practical skills used in wildlife conservation, integrating conservation at the landscape scale with other wider countryside land management. This will develop understanding of the use of practical conservation management in maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. The inter-disciplinary nature of the module is emphasised in identifying the role of policy and statutory controls for wildlife management, and the role of conservation science in their development and delivery.

Evolution and Animal Development - (double credit module)

The shape, size and colour of each animal are produced during its development. This means that in order to study the evolution of animal biodiversity we need to study the evolution of development. In this module, we will not only discuss animal evolution at various timescales and levels, but we will also follow the development from egg (cell) to adult in a variety of animal species and compare the developmental programmes involved.

Advanced Cell Biology and Bioimaging

This module is designed to give students an in-depth appreciation of currently topical areas in the cell biology of mammals, yeast and plants, and the techniques underpinning the associated research. Topics to be covered will include cell signalling, the endomembrane system, and the cell cycle.

Genomic Medicine

The key areas of genomics, human genetics and genetic variation will be introduced. An understanding of genetics in disease and how genomic medicine can be utilised to elucidate disease mechanisms and biology will be developed. Basic genetics and genomics will be discussed to enable development of understanding the role of genetics in disease and how genomic information can be utilised to elucidate disease mechanisms and biology.

Science and Humanity

Science has had a huge impact on all aspects of our lives, and the overall aim of this module is to set that influence in its social and historical context. We will address alternative views of the world, how they have been developed or replaced in the context of science and have a clear look at the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific world view. We will address ideas about the value of other life forms and introduce environmental philosophy.

Independent Study in Life Sciences

A study (normally library-based) of a topic of the student's choosing that is relevant to the student's programme but not formally offered as part of the taught course.

Year 3 (optional placement year)

Optional modules

Industrial Placement

The Industrial Placement module lets you gain first-hand experience of applying theoretical and practical science within a professional environment, for example within an industrial biotechnology company or a laboratory. You will gain insight into the work of a professional scientific employer and develop both practical laboratory skills and the ability to self-assess. We will suggest employers but experience tells us that successful students are usually those who are pro-active in searching out their own placements. Many placements do come with a salary, but sadly some employers do not feel they are obliged to offer a salary, and that the expenses they incur by hosting and training you are sufficient outlay for them. This issue of salary will have implications for you and for your funding status. We will give you advice on this during the application process, but you should make sure you understand your situation fully by talking with the Student Finance department.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


Graduates of our BSc Biological Sciences (Genetics and Genomes) degree make a huge difference to human health and conservation. They also have an excellent record of employment. 

With your detailed understanding of the field of genetics and genomes, you’ll be prized by employers. 

Oxford provides many exciting career opportunities. The city is surrounded by several innovative bioscience companies. It’s also home to renowned research centres such as the Nuffield and Churchill hospitals.

Popular job roles include:

  • data analyst,
  • researcher,
  • clinical trials coordinator,
  • teacher,
  • lecturer,
  • lab technician,
  • digital epidemiologist,
  • microbiologist,
  • biotechnologist. 

It’s not uncommon for students to continue studying. Our MSc Conservation Ecology and MSc Genetics and Genomics have been particularly popular. Some continue onto PhDs, including internally funded PhDs.

Our Staff

Dr Daniela Santos Nunes

"I currently lead the Phenotypic Evolution and Adaptation research group, which focuses on molecular evolution, population genetics and evolutionary developmental biology."

Read more about Daniela

Related courses

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29


Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27


International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

There are some additional costs for the course including the purchase of a lab coat, safety goggles, stationery such as a lab notebook, printing and text books (though the library will have some copies). If the student opts for the placement year then there will be living costs associated with this year but we encourage students to seek a placement with a bursary or a paid placement to mitigate this. Work experience also may also incur travel costs.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.